While Aleksandar Mitrovic has rightly claimed the majority of the plaudits so far this season, Neeskens Kebano has quietly become one of the first names on Fulham’s team sheet.
Although neither were able to find the net in Friday night’s 1-1 draw against AFC Bournemouth, Kebano once again put in an impressive display down the left-hand side to further enhance his credentials.
Overall, the former PSG attacker has scored four and assisted five so far this term and with 31 successful dribbles made, more than anyone else in the side, has made the left wing position his own.
Indeed, Kebano has a way of bamboozling defenders with his lightning-quick feet and peculiar style, running with ball so fast it looks like he’s going to fall over – although of course he never does.
The 29-year-old’s positive build-up play has been the catalyst for a large part of Fulham’s attacking impetus this campaign, linking-up excellently with the full-back behind him – whether it is Antonee Robinson or Joe Bryan.
His performances, as well as crucial goals, suggests the player has finally found his feet following an inauspicious start to his Cottagers career after joining from Belgian side Genk in August 2016
Although winning promotion with Slavisa Jokanovic’s 2017/18 squad, Kebano struggled to lock down a starting position despite some promising cameos, with Ivan Cavaleiro usually getting the nod over him.
However, Kebano’s true value became clearer at the tail-end of Scott Parker’s 2019/20 promotion season when he scored three sumptuous free-kicks in three games, one of which came against Cardiff in the first-leg of the Play-Off Semi-Final.
He became the first player in all four top divisions to do this since Wayne Rooney in 2013, proving his dead-ball expertise was as good as anyone else’s in the Fulham side.
Without Kebano hitting that rich vein of form when he did, Premier League promotion would have been far from guaranteed but once top-flight football did eventually arrive he struggled to prove himself once again.
Kebano featured at the beginning of Fulham’s slow start where they lost their opening four games and conceded 11 before a muscle injury subsequently kept him out until January.
On his return, he duly went out on loan to Championship outfit Middlesbrough, scoring one and assisting four while Fulham unsuccessfully fought against Premier League relegation.
But under new manager Marco Silva, Neeskens is back where he belongs – on Fulham’s left wing playing an integral role in their promotion charge and standing out, which is no easy feat in this star-studded Fulham side.